The Jason Davis Deal

Dave · May 13, 2007 at 9:17 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The M’s acquired Jason Davis from the Indians on Sunday, a week after Davis was designated for assignment by the Indians. Davis is essentially a slightly better version of Sean White – he throws primarily two-seam fastballs and gets more groundballs than flyballs, but he’s not a GB dominant type guy. He doesn’t have an outpitch and his command comes and goes. He was a decent reliever for the Indians last year but was terrible to start 2007, which is why the Indians gave him the boot.

The M’s gave up a player to be named later, and despite some hopeful speculation from Indians fans, it’s almost certainly not going to be a player of any real consequence. Last year, the M’s gave the Indians non-prospect LHP Shawn Nottingham as the PTBNL in the Broussard/Choo swap. They might get a slightly better almost non-prospect pitcher this time around, such as Robert Rohrbaugh, but I have no concerns that the M’s included one of their better talents in this deal. It’s a minor deal, and the Indians are going to get a minor prospect.

Davis probably takes Sean Green’s spot on the roster. Green and Ryan Rowland-Smith will be heading back to Tacoma in the next few days.


45 Responses to “The Jason Davis Deal”

  1. Thom Jimsen on May 13th, 2007 9:23 pm

    I guess to me the question is: Why did the Mariners feel they needed to go outside their organization for replacement-level talent? Can he really be significantly better than Green, Rowland-Smith, Huber, Woods … or whoever?

  2. Dave on May 13th, 2007 9:28 pm

    Jason Davis posted a 3.74 ERA for the Indians last year in 55 innings. He’s got a career 4.69 ERA in 401 major league innings. To the Mariners, that makes him both a proven veteran and one that was effective last year.

    They don’t see him as a replacement level reliever. He is, but to know that, you have to be willing to look past things like ERA.

    He’ll essentially take Julio Mateo’s role, and since he’s a veteran, he’s qualified for those roles. As young unproven kids, White/Green/Huber are not.

    I’m not agreeing with it, just explaining it.

  3. gwangung on May 13th, 2007 9:32 pm

    He’ll essentially take Julio Mateo’s role, and since he’s a veteran, he’s qualified for those roles. As young unproven kids, White/Green/Huber are not.

    Meaning that a player has to have Felix-level/Junior-level talent in order to get that qualification, hm?

  4. wilymo on May 13th, 2007 9:33 pm

    Is there any chance that the PTBNL is Julio Mateo (when his 10 day suspension is up, maybe there’s something that you can’t trade a guy on the suspended list) or is their virtually no chance of that?

  5. Dave on May 13th, 2007 9:36 pm

    It’s theoretically possible that its Mateo, but there’s no reason to think the Indians would be interested in Julio. He’s not their kind of pitcher. They like relievers who don’t suck, which is why they’re getting rid of Jason Davis to begin with.

  6. colm on May 13th, 2007 9:36 pm

    I can’t imagine the Indians, often lauded here as the “smartest organization in baseball”, are dumb enough to flip a player with ANY value for Julio Mateo.

  7. Thom Jimsen on May 13th, 2007 9:37 pm

    By that Bavasi logic, the next move has to be “swiping” Todd Walker from the A’s.

    By the way, Dave: Is Jack Cust having a 2004 David Newhan moment? Once-around-the-league syndrome? Or can he actually play?

  8. Dave on May 13th, 2007 9:39 pm

    Cust is this year’s Chris Shelton. They’ll stop throwing him fastballs pretty soon, and he’ll be back in the minors by the end of the year.

  9. eponymous coward on May 13th, 2007 9:43 pm

    Then again, the Indians are dealing with an organization that dealt Soriano for Ramirez and Snelling/Fruto for TUUUURRRBOOOO!, so I won’t be shocked if the deal is Adam Jones for Davis…

  10. JH on May 13th, 2007 9:44 pm

    Yes you will.

  11. Dave on May 13th, 2007 9:48 pm

    This isn’t anything like those trades, though. The M’s thought they were trading for a #3 starter and their starting DH. They were willing to give up talent because they valued the guys they were getting back pretty highly (and pretty incorrectly).

    In this case, they’re trading for a middle/long reliever. They don’t think they’re getting something extremely valuable, and there’s no reason to believe that they’ll pay a high price for Davis.

  12. Typical Idiot Fan on May 13th, 2007 9:49 pm

    I doubt it would be Mateo. The Indians have no shortage of relief arms, even in their farm system. PTBNL are rarely anybody major league ready and it probably wont be somebody on the 40 man roster. It will also probably be somebody the Indians dont have to put on the 40 man roster either.

    I do have one dumb question: why haven’t they DFA’d Arthur Rhodes yet? He hasn’t been transfered to the 60 day DL and we know his season’s over and so does everybody else in baseball. Nobody would snag him if he cleared waivers. Or can you not do that?

  13. eponymous coward on May 13th, 2007 9:53 pm

    I didn’t say I EXPECTED it to be Jones. Just that I won’t be shocked, because nothing Bavasi does shocks me any more.

  14. batura on May 13th, 2007 9:58 pm

    There’s no point in DFAing Rhodes– he’s already on the DL, so he’s not taking up a roster spot and they have to pay his salary this year anways.

    Its not like he’s going on the wire and will be claimed by some team desperate to pay the salary on a player that’s out for the year on a 1-year deal.

  15. batura on May 13th, 2007 10:00 pm

    oh, I missed your point about him not being on the DL. If he isn’t, that’s crazy.

  16. Typical Idiot Fan on May 13th, 2007 10:17 pm

    Oh, and it can’t be Mateo.

    According to the PTBNL rules, since the Indians and the Mariners are in the same league, the player has to be a minor leaguer or… literally one that hasn’t played in the majors in the same league. That rules out Reed, Weaver, Mateo, Jones, Huber, Rivera (sadly), Balentien, Feierabend, and most of the rest of the guys on our 40 man roster.

    That, of course, leaves a wide open range of possibilities, but I say it ends up being someone like Andy Barb. Interesting if nobody special minor leaguer.

  17. Dave on May 13th, 2007 10:20 pm

    Actually, that’s not quite right. The rule is that a PTBNL has to “change leagues”, and cannot appear in any games in the same league as the team he’s being traded to after the trade has been announced.

    Julio Mateo is currently a member of the Tacoma Rainiers in the Pacific Coast League. Joining the Cleveland Indians of the American League would constitute a change of leagues.

  18. Tom on May 13th, 2007 10:25 pm

    So why wouldn’t Green stay on the team as a long guy? You don’t seriously think the Mariners are going to keep Mateo and call him back up too, will they?

    For goodness sake, if Carlos Guillen gets traded because of a DUI offense, why wouldn’t Mateo get released because of a domestic violence case? Especially when the M’s have 2 perfectly suitable replacements in the long relief spot in Jake Woods and Sean Green.

  19. IdahoInvader on May 13th, 2007 10:29 pm

    So not even Cust’s near .470 OBP last year @ AAA or other minor league years with over 100 walks w/ some power mean he could have some major league success?

    Plus, I thought at one time he was considered an upper tier prospect.

    But I suppose there was a reason no one has bothered to call him up the past few years.

  20. Tom on May 13th, 2007 10:30 pm

    #18: Did I say Jake Woods? I meant Justin Lehr.

  21. Thom Jimsen on May 13th, 2007 10:31 pm

    #19: Ask Graham Koonce.

  22. E-bomb on May 13th, 2007 10:45 pm

    Anyone know the status of Mark Lowe? Can we expect to see him after/before the all-star break?

  23. Tom on May 13th, 2007 10:53 pm

    #22: Definitely not before. Even when he does come back there’s no guarantee he’ll be the Mark Lowe we saw in 2006. He may even hold back on the mound in fear of getting another injury.

  24. Sports on a Schtick on May 14th, 2007 12:08 am

    So if the M’s effectively trade a non-impact prospect for a marginally better Mateo replacement, I would consider that a small step in the right direction.

  25. NBarnes on May 14th, 2007 4:04 am

    Major league team gets better for, essentially, free. It’s the sort of small move that the As get so much out of.

  26. Dave on May 14th, 2007 7:47 am

    So not even Cust’s near .470 OBP last year @ AAA or other minor league years with over 100 walks w/ some power mean he could have some major league success?

    Cust essentially has two skills – he can hit a straight fastball and he understands not to swing at anything that isn’t a straight fastball. In the minors, this works. In the majors, pitchers will adjust. He’s going to see a lot of breaking balls in the strike zone very soon.

    Cust is also one of the least liked players in recent baseball history. Most people who have played with him can’t stand the guy. The coaches he’s played for have nothing kind to say about him. There aren’t many people out there rooting for Jack Cust to succeed.

  27. Paul B on May 14th, 2007 8:00 am

    Here’s a question I’ve always had about PTBNL. Why?

    Why do they do it? There must be some advantage to at least one of the two teams involved, if not both, that would make them agree on it rather than just complete the trade immediately. I can think of a few minor advantages, but I can’t help but think I am missing something important.

  28. Dave on May 14th, 2007 8:10 am

    There’s two general reasons for a PTBNL:

    1. Players aren’t allowed to be traded within the first year since signing their original professional contract. A PTBNL doesn’t have to be named for six months, so a team can trade a guy it just drafted last year before his one year anniversary date by calling him a PTBNL, then waiting until after his signing date to announce him as the player. The A’s did this with Jeremy Bonderman, for instance.

    2. The receiving team wants a bit more time to scout/evaluate the players it may receive. Especially in a minor deal, one team will give the other team a list of acceptable players to pick from, and a timeframe for when they need to make their decision. This gives the other team time to send assignment scouts out to go look at the kids on the list and get a better idea of which one they like the most.

    I’m betting on scenario B here. My guess is the M’s presented the Indians with a list of kids that they weren’t extremely familiar with (the M’s and Indians affiliates aren’t in any of the same minor leagues), and they wanted a week or so to go put a scout’s eyes in front of the players they have to choose from.

  29. bermanator on May 14th, 2007 8:11 am

    Dave … why don’t people like Cust? I believe you, and that explains a lot about his lack of opportunities, but what about him is so abrasive?

  30. Dave on May 14th, 2007 8:16 am

    Take every negative stereotype about the high school jock you can think of, then put that into a package of a guy who thinks he’s far better than he actually is.

  31. msb on May 14th, 2007 8:19 am

    there’s no guarantee he’ll be the Mark Lowe we saw in 2006. He may even hold back on the mound in fear of getting another injury.

    just to be pedantic, Lowe didn’t have an “injury”, he was found to have a chondral defect in his right elbow, and subsequently had surgery to encourage the re-growth of cartilage

  32. joser on May 14th, 2007 9:18 am

    Well, and to be even more pedantic, I don’t think anyone has told the public a cause for the chrondral defect. It could have been a single trauma (a blow to the elbow, even years ago) or it could be a chronic condition caused by stress and wear of pitching. Or he could have been born with it. And it’s possible they’re not entirely sure what caused it. But it could indeed be a pitching injury. Jeff at LookoutLanding wrote up a discussion of this last fall.

    Going out on a limb: since it wasn’t a sudden, psychologically-traumatic event (Lowe didn’t suddenly clutch his elbow while on the mound in the middle of a crucial at-bat in a big game), as long as the rehab goes smoothly he’ll probably come back to his old self, or at least as much as the elbow allows. The problem, as that LL post suggests, is that there’s no certainty this (relatively) quick fix will hold up in the long run. He might go on to a full career, at least as far as the M’s are concerned. Or he might be out getting TJ surgery before the end of the season. We really don’t know.

  33. Jim Thomsen on May 14th, 2007 9:21 am

    #30: Josh Karp is another fine example of this. I know someone who knows him pretty well, and says that the worse he performed, the more obnoxious he got as a human being. And it’s all but certain he’ll never spend a millisecond in the major leagues as a result.

  34. Ralph Malph on May 14th, 2007 9:24 am

    If his chondral defect recurs, TJ surgery wouldn’t help with it. I expect if it recurs he’s done.

  35. dw on May 14th, 2007 9:54 am

    Take every negative stereotype about the high school jock you can think of, then put that into a package of a guy who thinks he’s far better than he actually is.

    I thought it was because he’s a woefully underachieving fastball hitter with more holes in his swing than a Swiss cheese warehouse and he couldn’t even break in with the Rockies despite spending an entire season hitting a mile above sea level.

    Oh, and he’s a petulant ass.

  36. Edman on May 14th, 2007 10:07 am

    Cust was diagnosed with a “slow swing” at the major league level, in his prime…..I can’t imagine it’s improved. All things even out….and so will Jack’s numbers.

  37. dang on May 14th, 2007 10:17 am

    From the LetsGoTribe blog.

    Rotoworld reports that Davis went to Seattle for a PTBNL. They speculated that it was probably a pretty solid guy since there was a fair amount of competition for him.

    Any thoughts on who the PTBNL might be? What about Chris Tillman? A young guy who was the number 8 prospect by Baseball America.

  38. msb on May 14th, 2007 10:25 am

    but they love him in Oakland 🙂

  39. robbbbbb on May 14th, 2007 10:26 am

    #36: You’re on crack. The M’s value Tillman highly, and he’s not going anywhere.

    Don’t expect to get much for Davis, as Dave describes above.

  40. msb on May 14th, 2007 10:29 am

    oooh, Mariner Love on KJR …

  41. dang on May 14th, 2007 10:29 am

    #38. I just copied what was on the Indians blog.

  42. eponymous coward on May 14th, 2007 10:30 am

    Yeah, because goodness knows if the Mariners have anything, it’s a surplus of starting pitching. Just look at all the great ERAs on the M’s starting staff- they should be giving away minor league starting pitchers for free, like toasters at banks when you open a new account.

    Seriously, if the M’s are going to give away pitching to pick up a crappy “proven veteran”, it’s going to be a fringe-y type guy. I would guess you’d be more likely to pick up an interesting minor league position player, simply because there are a fair number of roadblocks at the major league level under contract for 2008 (coughVidrocoughentireinfieldcoughIbanez).

  43. joser on May 14th, 2007 11:03 am

    but they love him in Oakland 🙂

    Yes, they certainly do. First Scutaro, now Cust; the A’s must lead the league in “walk-offs by walk-ons” (or, “players least likely to” anyway).

  44. Kazinski on May 14th, 2007 3:58 pm

    Is Snelling going to be available soon? According to the Oakland Tribune he’s going to be sent down to Sacto to play everyday, but I thought he was out of options, so he’d have to clear waivers.

  45. joser on May 14th, 2007 4:55 pm

    Interesting. I believe you’re right, Snelling is out of options, so unless he’s on the DL I think they have to pass him through waivers. Though they might not care with the glut they have now, you’d think Beane would at least try to do a deal rather just let him evaporate, but maybe they’re hoping to sneak him through.

    Then again, in that same linked article there’a a suggestion the M’s trade Sexson to the Giants for Noah Lowry….

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